The Norfolk Coast – A monthly wildlife guide by Oli Reville

It’s amazing to think that we are already into the 6th month of the year, the years seem to get shorter and shorter.

In theory June is one of the summer months and as I said at the end of my last post we should be focusing on the insects and plants that enjoy the warmth and long hours of sunshine. But as we approach June the weather resembles October at times, with misty rain and cool temperatures. For those that love birds this is fantastic, while those that seek out insects may have to wait a while.

Despite most birds having young or on eggs by now there is still a lot of migration going on, increased by the weather being very unlike summer. A lot of migrants can arrive in June and last year Norfolk was treated to Roller, Rose-Coloured Starling, Bluethroat and Bee-Eater throughout the month. The end of May has seen a similar trend, with lots of eastern migrants arriving, which adds to the already diverse number of bird species in Norfolk at this time of year.

Once the weather gets its act together then this is the time of year to observe the multitude of flowering plants and insects that fill our countryside.

Orchids are one group of plants that are worth giving a close look – they are varied and often intricate and delicate flowers. Species such as Bee, Common Spotted and Pyramidal can be found across grasslands in June and they add a colour to the Norfolk coast in June. Blossoming plants that make up our hedgerows are also in flower during June. Look out for Honeysuckle and Elder along country lanes, both of which attract a wide variety of insects. Other plants such as dog rose, ox-eye daisy and fox glove begin flowering in June and all add to the picturesque landscape we have here in Norfolk.

Once the sun returns we should see the emergence of more butterflies. In grassland areas Meadow Brown and Whites are abundant but areas of shorter grass are the home of the blues. This group of butterflies can be very tricky to ID so a good butterfly book and some close focus binoculars may be needed in order to get prolonged views.

One of June’s most striking butterflies is the Silver-Washed Fritillary. This striking orange butterfly is rare in Norfolk but Holt Country Park is a favourite site of this species and worth a visit on calm warm days for this hard to find butterfly.

Dragonflies and Damselflies also benefit from the warm weather and rivers along the coast are the home of both Beautiful and Banded Demoiselle, two of the most striking species to be found. The River Glaven is a real hot spot for this stunning insect.

We can only hope for some dry and calm weather as we enter June, so that the summer sun can bring the insects and flowers. For now though it’s worth visiting the Norfolk coast for its migrant birds, which continue to pour in from Europe.

Oli Reville